How Charities Can Build Awareness on Social Media

Social media is great for building brand awareness. These are low cost platforms that can be run on your time availability and really allow you to share your message with the right people. However, if you are a non-profit or for-purpose organisation, it can be tough.   The good news is that it doesn’t have to be.  Here are 5 steps you can take to build awareness for your cause and/or campaign today:

01 | Connect To Your Community

The reason you set up this non-profit/for purpose organisation or campaign is because you believed in a cause. You have one goals and one objective that you want to make happen. You are not the only one who believes in this goal otherwise you wouldn’t have landed on this page and you wouldn’t be trying to build awareness.   This shared goal is based on your values and you’re goal is to connect with other people who have the same values and therefore have an interest in your cause too.   You can use social media to find these people and connect with them based on these shared interests. If this is a well-publicised cause and people are already talking about it specifically or through related topics, take time to search these through hashtags.   Search keywords specific to your cause. Each time you come across someone who has a vested interest and meets your target audience, reach out and connect with them. These are people already actively taking a stance and using their voice on social media to get this message across. Connecting with them, gives them a campaign to be a part of and help you collectively amplify your voice.   This will take time but it is a great way to ‘rally the troops’ and gain support from people who are ready to help.

02 | Educate and Inform

Regardless of whether you are a for-purpose or for-profit organisation, the same rules apply. It’s important to build a relationship with your audience before asking them to anything. Your goal is to show your commitment and dedication by adding value up front.

Passion is contagious, pass it on!

When people see how passionate you are about a cause, they start to take an interest. This really comes down to your content strategy.

Take the time to educate your audience on WHY you care about this cause and WHY it matters to them too.

This is the piece of the jigsaw that many non-profits miss out on social media and the result is that people shut down and say no. If they don’t understand how this affects them then there is no real reason for them to care.

Use graphics and blog posts to demonstrate situations around your audience’s lifestyle and speak to their pain points.

Think about what’s in it for them.

If you can hit their emotional centre by being very specific in your targeting and messaging then people will relate to that and be more willing to engage.

Side note: Videos work especially well as they allow you to get directly in front of your audience. You aren’t hiding, you are showing that you are a real person and this is something you really care about. Everything from facial expressions to tone to your whole persona really helps that human-to-human connection and results in people being able to relate to you.

03 | Engage and Inspire

From the first two steps, you can see that there is a strong focus on relating to your target audience. We are doing the same thing here but this time, we are ramping it up.

Conversation is where you can really hone in on your connection those who are on the fence or aren’t quite ready to join you. The goal is not to talk about you or your cause but to engage with your audience on their interests.

If you have followed the right people, your target audience then they already have this interest… even if they don’t know it yet.

You do need to educate them but it’s also important to let them come to that realisation on their own.

If you push your message then you always end up with the same result. Your audience will shut down, their trust barriers will go up and they will feel like you are only connecting with them so that they do what you want.

Instead, get to know them. Talk to them. Look for tweets in their timeline or posts on Facebook and engage with them. Find those common interests and engage in a conversation around them.

It is through building this relationship with them that you demonstrate you are someone they like, know and trust.

04 | Call To Action

What is the exact action you want your community to take?

It’s so important that you make this really clear and provide instruction when appropriate.

It sounds obvious but it’s very easy to get caught up creating valuable content and engaging with your audience that you forget to actually ask them to join you or donate or sign a petition etc.

If your audience don’t know what it is you want them to do then they aren’t going to do it. Keep it short, clear and to the point.

Don’t try and fluff it out or butter your audience up because it really doesn’t work. In fact, it takes away from the authenticity, the transparency and the genuine person(s) you are.

You have already spent time educating and engaging with your audience. At this point, you’ve earned the right to ask for something so just ask.

05 | Take it Offline

There is no substitute for face-to-face connection.

However, when you are a non-profit/ for purpose organisation or are trying to build a campaign in this sector, it can be a little tricky.

If you are doing door-to-door canvassing, it can come across as intrusive and people feel pressured into giving up front.

A great way to overcome this is to build that relationship online and then create a small community event where your audience have the choice to participate offline.

By the same token, you take your audience offline and encourage them to engage online from the comfort of their own home.

Either way, this integration will serve you well especially in conjunction with the other four steps. Your goal is to insert yourself (and team) into the heart of your community and show that you are one of them.

You can relate to audience, you care about the same things and you believe in the same values.  People connect to people.